Chevron Earnings Triple on Higher Oil Prices

Chevron's (CVX) second-quarter earnings easily topped Wall Street forecasts, helped by higher oil prices and production increases, but revenue came in lower than analysts expected.

Chevron, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU), posted a threefold increase in net income to $5.41 billion, or $2.70 a share, from $1.75 billion, or 87 cents, booked in last year's second quarter. Analysts, on average, forecast earnings of $2.44 a share, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Revenue for the three months ended June 30 rose 29% to $51.05 billion from $39.65 billion a year ago, which was shy of analysts' average forecast for $52.52 billion in revenue. Chevron attributed the improved performance to higher prices for crude oil, natural gas and refined products.

Oil prices, as measured by U.S. futures contracts, were about 30% higher year-over-year during the most recent three-month period. On Thursday, fellow Dow component Exxon Mobil (XOM), the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said its second-quarter earnings easily topped Wall Street forecasts, also thanks to higher prices for crude oil.

"Earnings from upstream operations benefited significantly from higher prices for crude oil and natural gas and higher net oil-equivalent production," Chevron CEO John Watson said in a statement. "In the downstream, improved margins for refined petroleum products contributed to increased earnings."

Chevron's worldwide net oil-equivalent production came to 2.75 million barrels in the quarter, a 3% hike over last year's second quarter, the company said. The increase is mainly the result of new production from major project start-ups and ramp-ups in the U.S and Brazil, and expansion of capacity at Tengiz in Kazakhstan, the company said.

Analysts' average price target on Chevron's stock stands at $90.24. Add in the 3.8% yield on the dividend, and the implied upside comes to 23% in the next 12 months or so. Shares in Chevron are off about 2% year to date, which is in line with the broader market (see chart).